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Sociology Research


Jennifer Gabrys is Chair in Media, Culture and Environment in the Department of Sociology at the University of Cambridge. She leads the Planetary Praxis research group, and is Principal Investigator on the ERC-funded project, Smart Forests: Transforming Environments into Social-Political Technologies. She also leads the Citizen Sense and AirKit projects, which have both received funding from the ERC.

She is the author of How to Do Things with Sensors (2019); Program Earth: Environmental Sensing Technology and the Making of a Computational Planet (2016); and Digital Rubbish: A Natural History of Electronics (2011).

She co-edits the “Planetarities” book series published through Goldsmiths Press, and is co-editor with Big Data & Society. She has co-edited a special issue on “Sensors and Sensing Practices,” with Science, Technology & Human Values (2019); and a special issue on “Environmental Data,” with Big Data & Society (2016). She is also co-editor of Accumulation: The Material Politics of Plastic (Routledge, 2013). 

Her most recent book on the Citizen Sense project titled, Citizens of Worlds: Open-Air Toolkits for Environmental Struggle, is forthcoming from University of Minnesota Press, and is available as a pre-production publication on Manifold.

Research Interests

In her research, Gabrys addresses a number of crucial interfaces between digital technology, environments, social life and citizen participation. Her forthcoming monograph, Citizens of Worlds (2022), documents and analyses her research with Citizen Sense by investigating theories and practices of citizenship, action and engagement with digital technologies and environmental problems.


SOC 6: Advanced social theory

Graduate supervision availability and interests:

Jennifer is available to supervise graduate students in the following areas: digital social research, science and technology studies, environment and society, citizen participation.

Key Publications - Books

Gabrys, J. (2022) Citizens of Worlds: Open-Air Toolkits for Environmental Struggle (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press). Pre-print available open access on Manifold.

Gabrys, J. (2019) How to Do Things with Sensors (University of Minnesota Press, Forerunners series; ISBN: 978-1517908317).

Gabrys, J. 2016. Program Earth: Environmental Sensing Technology and the Making of a Computational Planet (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press; ISBN 978-0-8166-9314-6), 357 pgs.

Gabrys, J., Hawkins, G. and Michael, M. (eds). 2013. Accumulation: The Material Politics of Plastic (New York and London: Routledge (CRESC), 2013; ISBN 978-0-415-62582-1), 242 pgs.

Gabrys, J. 2011. Digital Rubbish: A Natural History of Electronics (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press; ISBN 978-0-472-11761-1), 225 pgs.

Key Publications - Book Chapters

Gabrys, J. (2021) 'Sensing Particulate Matter and Practicing Environmental Justice.' In Routledge Companion to Contemporary Art, Visual Culture, and Climate Change, edited by TJ Demos, Emily Scott, Subhankar Banerjee,  (New York: Routledge), 219-229.

Gabrys, J. 2019. ‘Data Citizens: How to Reinvent Rights.’ In Data Politics: Worlds, Subjects, Rights, edited by Didier Bigo, Engin Isin, Evelyn Ruppert (Routledge Studies in International Political Sociology)

Gabrys, J. 2018. ‘Citizen Sensing, Environmental Monitoring, and “Media” as Practice in the Making.’ In The Routledge Companion to Media Studies and Digital Humanities, edited by Jentery Sayers (New York: Routledge), 503-510

Gabrys, J. 2017. ‘Air Walk: Monitoring Pollution and Experimenting with Forms of Participation.’ In Walking through Social Research, edited by Charlotte Bates and Alex Rhys-Taylor (London: Routledge, “Advances in Research Methods Series”), 144-161

Gabrys, J. 2016. ‘Re-Thingifying the Internet of Things.’ In Sustainable Media: Critical Approaches to Media and Environment, edited by Nicole Starosielski and Janet Walker (New York and London: Routledge), 180-190.

Key Publications - Journal Articles

Gabrys, J. (2021) 'The Forest that Walks: Digital Fieldwork and Distributions of Site.' In the special issue, 'Critical Walking Methodologies and Oblique Agitations of Place,' co-edited by Stephanie Springgay and Sarah E. Truman (WalkingLab), Qualitative Inquiry.

Gabrys, J. (2020) Planetary health in practice: sensing air pollution and transforming urban environmentsHumanities and Social Sciences Communications 7, Article number: 35 (2020) 

Pritchard, H., Gabrys, J., Houston, L. 2018. “Re-Calibrating DIY: Testing Participation across Dust Sensors, Fry Pans and Environmental Pollution,” New Media & Society (doi: 10.1177/1461444818777473), 1-20.

Gabrys, J. 2017. “Citizen Sensing, Air Pollution and Fracking: From ‘Caring about Your Air’ to Speculative Practices of Evidencing Harm.” Sociological Review, 65, no. 2, "Care and Policy" monograph series, 172-192.

Gabrys, J., Pritchard, H. and Barratt, B. 2016. “Just Good Enough Data: Figuring Data Citizenships through Air Pollution Sensing and Data Stories." Big Data & Society, 3, no. 2, 1-14.

Gabrys, J. 2014. “Programming Environments: Environmentality and Citizen Sensing in the Smart City.” Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 32, no. 1, 30-48.

Key Publications - Other

'Citizen Infrastructures and Public Policy: Activating the Democratic Potential of Infrastructures.' In Future Directions for Citizen Science and Public Policy, edited by Katie Cohen and Robert Doubleday (Centre for Science and Policy (CSaP), University of Cambridge).

Grants and Projects

Gabrys, J. (PI) Smart Forests: Transforming Environments into Social-Political Technologies. ERC Consolidator Grant (2020-2025): €1.99m

Van Oudheusden, M. and Gabrys, J. (PI) GRACE - Grassroots Citizen Science for Global Data Environments Project. European Commission (EC) Marie Curie Award (2019-2021): €224,934

Gabrys, J. (PI) AirKit. European Research Council (ERC) Proof of Concept Grant (2018-2019): £150,000

Gabrys, J. (CI) Sustainability Invention and Energy Demand Reduction: Co-Designing Communities and Practice. ESRC/RCUK Energy Research Programme (2011-2014): £974,133


Ziman Award (2018), European Association for the Study of Science and Technology (EASST), for a “collaborative promotion of public interaction with science and technology,” awarded to the Citizen Sense project collective

Goldsmiths Warden’s Annual Public Engagement Award (2018), Winner in the Established Researcher category for Citizen Sense’s “Deptford Data Stories”

Job Title:
Chair in Media, Culture and Environment
Professor Jennifer Gabrys